Those in attendance were:
• Reeves 18
• Councilors 53
• Administrators 13
• Visitors 7 for a total of 91
Director Murray Purcell called the meeting to order at 10:10 am welcoming everyone and went on to introduce the guests and staff present.
Moved by R.M. #429 / 285:
That the minutes of the June 23, 2004 meeting, as circulated, be approved.
Director Murray Purcell reported on his activities and responsibilities on the SARM board.
S.A.R.M. Vice-President Dave Marit spoke on the following topics:
• Liberal Caucus in Sask.(Aug 23-25 SARM scheduling meeting times)
• Species at Risk (SARM lobbied for removal of the Plains Bison from this list as it interfered with meat sales.)
• Sask. Ethanol Committee (1.5% mandatory blend by Aug/2005.)
• Processing Meat Plants (Sask., Alberta or Manitoba)
• Fleetnet System (2006 phase out proposed by Sask Tel, SARM requesting system be retained or suggest assistance to change)
• Clearing the Path committee for economic development (SARM is devoting lots of their time to this project)
Laurel Pilsner, Policy Analyst for SARM, presented the Promotional Video with comments from Committee members Richard Porter and Dave Marit
Why Clear the Path?
Our municipal system was said to be an impediment to Economic Development
- Positive Attitudes
- Varied Fees & Regulations across the province
- Municipal funding for Economic Development
- More Forethought
- Application of Tax Tools
- Discretionary Use Provision
- Revenue and Cost Sharing
- Secondary Weight Limits
- Concentrated Hauls
- Convenient Access for Acquiring Permits
The CTP committee is in the process of tracking down test cases of municipalities currently working together for business development. These will be documented and shared at workshops this fall or perhaps as a module for MLDP.
The search is on for rural people who would be good instigators of the CTP process. Anyone interested let the committee know. Promotion of CTP will start with municipalities progressing to news conferences for the general public and industry.
Dale Harvey, SARM Assistant Executive Director, gave the background information regarding The Municipalities Act and introduced Bonnie Bjorndalen, Municipal Advisor with Government Relations to present some key changes.
• Natural Person Powers
- Municipalities have basically the same powers granted an individual
- Bylaw will be required-samples are available
• Public Notice Policy
- Bylaw required by Jan 30, 2006
- Technical requirement and limitations
- 1 year levy plus annual own sources revenues
- Fees to property owners for assessment explanation
• Assessment Appeals
- Oath of Offices required
- Different fees for property classes
- Combined assessment and tax notice
- Separate or combined tax rolls
- Committee meetings minutes signed and approved
- Unscheduled require 24 hrs notice to public
Implementation lists provided, as well as Cross Reference listings and sample bylaws. Training Sessions for Administrators this fall, Sept and Oct, councils also welcome.
Sask. Municipal Hail Director Wayne Nargang described Municipal Hail and Additional Hail Associations. They are always mindful of the cost of operations.
• 2004 risk and loss history
• Competitive advantages
• 100 field staff employed
Brian Kelly, Business Manager, Saskatoon:
2004 was their 75th anniversary
• Key Initiatives of Sask. Power
- Kyoto Accord-Sask. Power is working closely with the provincial government to
meet objectives of reduction by 2012
- Infrastructure Renewal-2000megawatts in next 20 years
- Green Power Portfolio-wind facility near Swift Current (EPP)
- Record Capital Spending Plan-budget of ½ billion in 2005
- 5% Rate increase suggested in late 2005 to meet 2006 plans
- Alternative Farm Energy Program-50% grant for remote clients
• Irrigation/three phase line-costs are prohibitive and Sask. Power reluctant to service
• Definition of Demand Rate
• Underground lines-only new or deemed hazardous
• Possibility of Brown Conditions
S.A.R.M. Executive Director Ken Engel coordinated the discussion on the Education Tax Issue.
The four articles prepared for release to the Weekly Newspapers Asso as well as all municipalities were distributed and part two was read aloud. Ken gave the history of how this end result developed due to the decision to squash the large media campaign as SARM did not feel it had the support of the majority of members willing to fund it with a $500 payment each. He compared Sask.
Education tax with Alberta and Manitoba.
Resolution #8 of the SARM Convention developed the plan of action whereby possible solutions generated at the District Meetings would be presented to SARM. They will review and compile these suggestions returning it to the membership for further discussion.
Resolutions passed at District #6 in Battleford were read
- Alternative Farm Energy Program
- Implement balance of Bowen Report 70/30 split
- Foundation Operating grant be reworked (PST or Income Tax)
• SARM should take initiative for all property owners not just agriculture and thus generate support from SUMA
• Make Tax Fair
• SARM should promote a tax revolt, we are too passive with our letter writing and our white glove approach
• There is an ever growing list of non-agri ratepayers-time to change our course
• We need a greater portion of taxes paid by the urban population
• SARM has lead the charge for many years to try to reduce education tax on property
• Not all municipalities on the same page
Ken Engel responded with SARM’s point of view that it represents all municipalities which is difficult when there is strong views being expressed and they are at each end of the spectrum on this issue. The discount protest was a good example with many variations of the original proposal being developed to meet the comfort levels of municipalities. Some municipalities are continuing their discount protest into 2006. Some actions are against the law therefore there would be no insurance coverage for your actions.
The Rally held did generate results namely the 8% reduction for 2005. SUMA is prepared to work with SARM on the education tax issue.
Mover by R.M. #521/344
WHEREAS SARM continues to lobby to have the Provincial Government revisit the funding of K-12 education,
AND WHEREAS SARM in their lobby efforts stresses its concern regarding high education tax on agricultural properties;
AND WHEREAS SARM has member R.M.’s who are concerned with high education taxes but not particularly on its agricultural land base
BE IT RESOLVED THAT SARM discontinue its prime initiative on education tax to cover agricultural land only and lobby on behalf of all ratepayers in RMs to address inequities on education taxes for all rural ratepayers.
Discussion Groups were formed of 8-10 delegates with the following thoughts generated:
• Get urbans involved (support for resolution passed earlier)
• Get money for ad campaign from everyone involved including urbans
• Government should be accountable for education tax, similar to when it was E& H tax (have a dedicated tax to education –a percentage from the present PST)
• Have to let government know we mean business
• PARCS, SSBA, SUMA and SARM pressure government
• SARM get commitment from SUMA on reducing education tax on all property
• $500 from all RMs
• Sample letters from the RM to ratepayers to pressure government ex: send with tax notice
Director Purcell thanked the staff present and relayed to municipalities of Division #5 that he is more than happy to meet with individual councils. Call his cell #306-241-7432 to arrange a meeting.
Moved by R.M. # 429
That this meeting be adjourned.
The meeting adjourned at 3:45 p.m.